I am continuing to work on my form-to-email project, and it is going well, albeit slower than I anticipated. I am currently working on a subsystem to let a user confirm their email address.
I’m currently using the free compute tier of AWS, and that was something of a struggle to sign up to. I’d triggered their automated security checks (possibly by virtue of using a VPN and NoScript), and they’d sent a message requesting images of “recent utility bills” and all manner of stupid hoops to jump through. They already had my confirmed phone number, real name, business name, and postal address. I emailed them a fairly stiff message, and thankfully they relented:
Greetings from Amazon Web Services.
We have reviewed your account and removed the temporary hold.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate your patience with our security measures.
Thank you for your interest in Amazon Web Services.
So, I thought I’d try their messaging service (SES) for transactional email. This is understandably sandboxed to start off with, and one can only send to authorised addresses until the hold is taken off the account. So I applied for this, giving all manner of details, and requesting a very low sending limit (I’m just testing and prototyping for now).
I received the following corporate stupidity in response:
We regret to inform you that we cannot grant your request for increased Amazon SES sending limits in AWS Region EU (Ireland) at this time.
We have determined that your use of Amazon SES may adversely impact our services. For further information about our policies, please review our Acceptable Use Policy and Service Terms:
Amazon Web Services™ Acceptable Use Policy: http://aws.amazon.com/aup/
AWS Service Terms: http://aws.amazon.com/serviceterms/
If you wish to appeal this decision, please reply to this case and provide as much information as you can to let us understand your use case.
Amazon Web Services
Urgh. So I have no idea what the problem is, and they don’t want to tell me. I’ve complained, for all the good that will likely do, and even if I were to pay for services from them in the future, they can certainly afford to lose any trivial business I might give them.
So, undeterred, I tried the same with SendGrid, who also have a good free tier. I managed to trigger their security gremlins as well, and my account was put on hold. I logged a support case, and received this:
I apologize for any confusion.
It looks like there was an error in your sign up information. In this case you will need to create a new account.
In creating this new account, please verify that all of the information used is valid and correct.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
Lots of “regards” from people who are not empowered to help me. So, I created a new account, and that was automatically blocked too. When I complained a second time I got this gem:
Thanks for reaching out. SendGrid leverages many different vetting techniques and as such we’ve determined that you’re not a good fit for our platform. Because of this, we will not be able to activate your account. Our system does not provide myself or other members of Support with details regarding decisions made in the sign-up process. As such we are not able to provide any more information to you.
I apologize for this inconvenience.
I don’t know if it is the Silicon Valleyism of my having “reached out” that irritated me so much, or the further supply of cheery wishes from someone who has no intention of helping. And I’m being told by this plonker, who knows nothing about my work, that he’s sure I am “not a good fit for our platform”.
OK, apologies for the rant. It makes me feel better, if nothing else. I am not sure if it is aimed at the general soullessness of corporations or the phenomena of modern customer support departments whose sole purpose is apparently to wind up customers.
So, AWS and SendGrid were worth a try as they both have good free tiers (ideal for the unfunded entrepreneur) but they look like they’re out for now. I can use SMTP from my VPS, but any suggestions as to other senders I can try? What are you using in your own projects?